Friday, August 20, 2010

The Liberal Sexual Mores of Evangelicals

It has been my experience that, in opposing the practice of homosexuality, evangelicals often tout the fact that they are standing up for the conservative, historic Christian teaching. They say they want to stand up against the intrusion of new, liberal ideas into Christendom.

This is ironic, however, since evangelicals have abandoned most other conservative, historic Christian teachings in favor of new, liberal teachings regarding sexuality.

Yes, most evangelicals believe that sex is only for married couples, and that marriage is only for couples with one man and one woman who are not closely related. This is good. But on most issues beyond this, evangelicals have abandoned the long-standing, universally held Christian teachings.

Virtually all evangelicals reject the historic Christian teachings on divorce and the use of contraception, and many evangelicals also reject the historic Christian teachings on oral sex, heterosexual anal sex, and masturbation.

The break from the historic teaching on divorce occurred in the Reformation itself. The Catholic Church had always held that divorce was impossible. For Jesus taught "what God has joined together, let no man separate." (Mt 19.6) And what is claimed by Protestants today as an allowance for divorce ("except for pornea" in Mt 5.32) had always been interpreted as dealing with the breaking of an engagement or marriage that was unlawful to begin with. Evangelicals have chosen to follow the Reformer's liberal views rather than the historic Christian teaching.

As for the rest, evangelicals (along with all Protestants) actually agreed with the Catholic Church for hundreds of years that the use of contraception, and the practices of oral sex, heterosexual anal sex, and masturbation were gravely immoral. It was only recently, in the mid-20th century, that, pressured by the world, evangelicals decided to change their theology of what marriage and sex are in order to embrace these practices - practices that had always been rejected by Christians since the 1st century.

Now, Scripture hasn't changed. The Great Tradition hasn't changed. The Catholic Church hasn't changed. But evangelicals have.

So why do evangelicals consider themselves as holding to conservative, historic Christian sexual mores? Because most evangelicals don't know history. They don't know that they have broken from Christian history, in some cases very recently, in favor of newly created liberal theology.

If you are attending an evangelical church and want to hold to the conservative, historic Christian teachings on sexual mores, you're going to the wrong church.

25 comments:

  1. You don't know what the hell you are talking about. The Catholic Church loves divorce. They call it annulment. Don't waste your breath on me. I left the Catholic Church over its lies in "support" of marriage and I am not about to listen to your drivel, in reply.

    Wake up and see the corruption in the Church my friend it is ubiquitous.

    Yes, for what it is worth. I will always, deeply, love the Catholic Church. I would NEVER join another adulterous imposter that "calls itself" a Church(ex Episcopal, Methodist, Baptist.......) but I know, exactly, what I have written here about, regardless of the "definitions" used to describe annulments, in many cases they are THE EXCUSE for obtaining a civil divorce and the adulterous relationships which, often, are the driving force behind this travesty of justice and open mockery of the gospel of OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST.

    To justify DIVORCE and make an excuse for adultery and remarriage IS the purpose of an annulment. It IS NOT to find the truth. That is a CANARD.

    How hard does the Church try to help restore a marriage its courts have determined is valid, when the petitioner has already moved on in adultery and often civil remarriage and the heart broken respondent, who defended that marriage through twelve years of canonical battles and twenty years of begging the Church for that help, gives up and leaves the Church?

    Why don't you write for an answer to Archbishop Dolan or Benedict, the Holy Father? Neither man gives a damn. Their examples teach well that faithfulness is a waste of time.

    God be with you in your walk in His Catholic Church. I mean that with both my mind and my heart. He is ALL that matters.

    May God forgive His Catholic Church. May God forgive Archbishop Dolan? May God forgive Pope Benedict. May God forgive my wife and her long time lover.

    May God forgive me and be merciful enough when I pass from this earth, to gather my broken soul to be restored in the beatific vision of his Holy Presence.

    Lastly, may he guide and protect all of our seven children, including the two daughters of her adultery.

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  2. The rejection of these historical teachings has fatally undermined the ability of straight Christians to resist the cultural and legal mainstreaming of homosexuality.

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  3. Anon, on what terms did your wife get an annulment?

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  4. I guess, as usual, my writing was not clear. After our divorce, unilaterally, in 1990 my wife managed to manipulate(I mean this word exactly) a pro nullity decision from an Iowan(USA) tribunal, which I appealed to the Roman Rota. Within six months a panel of judges wrote that there were numerous errors and refused to "ratify" the decision. This necessitated a second full hearing of our case in Rome.

    Ultimately in 1997 the Roman Rotal panel(3 judges always) decided against nullity, which necessitated a "tie-breaker". In late 2002, the third hearing(3rd instance) of our case, for which the Dean of the Rota sat on the three judge panel as the judge in charge, found against nullity.

    Our marriage stood.

    But it did not matter, today in 2010 my wife and her lover are simply waiting for me to die so they can marry in the Catholic Church. They are fully accepted as husband and wife, and have been since 1992, in every Catholic Church and diocese. They just have to wait to watch me die.

    That is the story.

    Very few people understand, or will listen, or care, about the extreme
    cruelty and violation the pastoral policies and tribunals of the Catholic Church put the children of these, valid, sacramental marriages through as well as faithful(not perfect) maliciously abandoned spouses.

    Understand. I remain married to my wife before God and under Canon Law but all my rights as a Catholic father are ceded to the adulterous and unrepentant "couple". I was allowed no say in ANY of our childrens sacraments after my wife abandoned our marriage.

    Do I need to go on, really. If you think of this, in a serious manner one can only conclude that the Catholic Church is complicite in all of the crimes involved in unjust divorces through its almost complete support for those who simply abandon a valid marriage.

    Please understand every bishop in the world, certainly in the US, knows and supports this incredible sacrilege. I have personally written to countless Cardinals and bishops asking for help, including the present and previous Popes.

    They do not care. Period.

    I do not have any answers. But the breadth and width of this scandal
    makes the child abuse scandal, tiny, by comparison in complicity of numbers of bishops and priests, as well as in the number of children, abused by having their families and their security shredded.

    But this can gain no traction because the rank and file Catholics support adultery and divorce, as all the polls taken show, and divorce is the law of the land AND, the Church ALWAYS downplays the divorce, IT REQUIRES in order to start the annulment process.

    I have stated the facts and my personal experience here.

    Take it to your priests and bishops. If they deny it. They are liars.

    I have begged both of the last two Popes for their intercession. No reply was received.

    Make your own judgment.

    God be with you.

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  5. Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge. (Hebrews 13:4)

    That, to me, says that all sexual acts are fair game in marriage, so long as there's no cheating.

    Also, regarding the theological stance on divorce, as outlined in Matthew 19:6, there's a verse from earlier in the Book of Matthew.

    (Matthew 5:17) Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.

    The law of Moses allowed a husband to put away his wife for adultery (at least, there might be other reasons). So, is this a case of biblical errata, or did I miss an asterisk somewhere?

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  6. Pursue Catholicism. That is the simple answer.

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  7. Hey Jenna,

    Thanks for the thoughts!

    Here's the NIV translation of Hebrews 13.4: "Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral." It does not give license for just anything in marriage. Notice that it mentions "and all the sexually immoral" in addition to adultery.

    Regarding the fact that the Mosaic Law allows for divorce, Jesus addresses this issue in Matthew 19. The verse 6 that I quoted is just the end of it:
    "3Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?"

    4"Haven't you read," he replied, "that at the beginning the Creator 'made them male and female,'[a] 5and said, 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh'[b]? 6So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate."

    7"Why then," they asked, "did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?"

    8Jesus replied, "Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. 9I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for pornea, and marries another woman commits adultery." "

    Jesus came to fulfill the law aka show us the full and true meaning of it. Divorce, as Jesus explains, was a temporary concession, but not God's original design.

    Brantly

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  8. I have never been able to understand how the admonishment to forgive "7 x 70" allowed for the "moving on" and abandonment of a public vow that "remarriage" entails. Adultery does not negate the vow although it violates it.

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  9. Jenna said: "That, to me, says that all sexual acts are fair game in marriage, so long as there's no cheating."

    The Catholic Church teaches us that marital intercourse has two aspects. The unitive and the procreative. God designed intercourse to comprise both of these. One without the other is disordered. The unitive aspect brings a married couple together and "images" in the flesh the unity that Christ has for his Church.
    A total giving with no holding back. This unitive aspect strengthens the marriage. But God is also a creative God and his actions are creative and tied directly to the unitive.
    Therefore, each marital embrace needs to be open to the possibility of creation, no holding back. Marital acts that separate the unitive from the procreative aspect are disordered and ultimately go against the teachings of Christendom for 2000 years.
    Luther and Calvin both viewed birth control or "coitus interruptus" as evil and an abomination.
    Martin Luther said, "[T]he exceedingly foul deed of Onan, the basest of wretches . . . is a most disgraceful sin. It is far more atrocious than incest and adultery. We call it unchastity, yes, a sodomitic sin. For Onan goes in to her; that is, he lies with her and copulates, and when it comes to the point of insemination, spills the semen, lest the woman conceive. Surely at such a time the order of nature established by God in procreation should be followed. Accordingly, it was a most disgraceful crime. . . . Consequently, he deserved to be killed by God. He committed an evil deed. Therefore, God punished him."

    John Calvin said, "The voluntary spilling of semen outside of intercourse between man and woman is a monstrous thing. Deliberately to withdraw from coitus in order that semen may fall on the ground is doubly monstrous. For this is to extinguish the hope of the race and to kill before he is born the hoped-for offspring."


    Freud did also:
    "Moreover, it is a characteristic common to all perversions that in them reproduction is put aside as an aim. This is actually the criterion by which we judge whether a sexual activity is perverse-- if it departs from reproduction as its aim and pursues the attainment of gratification independently. "

    So up until 1930's every denomination in Christendom viewed contraception as evil .
    Then the Anglicans changed their view and every denomination followed.

    The Catholic Church is the only one who has stood firm on this teaching.

    Pray about it.

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  10. I keep hearing "The Catholic Church teaches (fill in the blank)"... but where does the Bible teach that oral sex, anal sex, contraception, etc is wrong? Granted that those are all used in marriage. Why would God care which position, for lack of a better word, my husband and I choose to have sex in? If we are married, then we can have sex in whichever way we want so long as we are honoring the marriage bed. I don't care what the Catholic Church teaches, I care what the Bible teaches.

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  11. Tessy- Why is sex outside marriage immoral/wrong?

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  12. One clarification on oral sex. You are correct that it is impermissible to engage ONLY in oral sex, for the reason that it removes the procreative element from sex. However, there is nothing in Catholic teaching that prohibits foreplay of any kind, including oral sex, so long as the overall sex act/union/session remains "open to life" and "oriented towards procreation," i.e. ends in the normal manner.

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  13. Tessy,

    Thanks for your comment.

    I actually didn't argue in this post that oral sex, anal sex, contraception are wrong, though I do believe that they are wrong. And I have never argued on my blog that because the Catholic Church says so, it is the case (though I do believe all that the Catholic Church teaches).

    But you did completely ignore what my post DID say, which was just stating historical facts. The idea that Christians would accept those practices is a man-made invention of recent history. You have nearly 2000 years of unified Christian teaching on the subject, until Protestants changed their mind in the mid-20th century. You can choose to break from history, but just know that you are inventing your own religion.

    So why did Christians believe those things were wrong? Several reasons. The story of Onan in Genesis 38, had always been interpreted as teaching against those things (look up John Calvin's commentary on it). The laws in the Mosaic law prohibit all sex that is in principle closed to procreation. Genesis 1 links sex with procreation. And there is much other biblical support. And finally, there is Natural Law (Paul calls homosexual acts 'unnatural' in Romans 1). To be very frank, we can tell simply by looking at our bodies that penises were not supposed to ejaculate into another person's anus. It is clearly intended for a woman's vagina.

    And really, it gets down to what a person believes sex is theologically. These issues are not in a vacuum. What a person believes about them only shows what they believe deep down about what sex is to begin with. Christian theology about sex has always made acceptance of contraception, anal and oral sex impossible. When Protestants wanted to start accepting them just a few decades ago, they had change their theology. Protestants and even supposedly conservative evangelicals, hold a theology of sex that has never existed before.

    Brantly

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  14. What about song of solomon? It doesn't look like there is much procreation going on there, just pure pleasure.

    And not to be rude or anything but you and your wife can do what you want... but as for me and my husband, we will enjoy each other and have a great Godly marriage even though we use birth control. The use of birth control will not keep us out of Heaven. I don't care what you think on the issue because that is your own personal opinion and every couple can decide for themselves whether or not birth control is for them. However, for you to judge my faith, marriage, and church based on the single issue of birth control is absurd. This is not a doctrinal belief we are arguing here, it's not like I am saying that Jesus isn't Lord or anything, I am saying that I will use birth control in my marriage until we are ready for children. This is one of those black and white issues that each and every couple needs to decide for themselves what they think is right. Same as drinking. It clearly says in the Bible to not get drunk, however some people choose to not drink alcohol at all and some choose to drink a little and not get drunk. Both are fine choices. It is what feels right in your own heart and your own relationship with God. If you feel convicted for using birth control, then don't use it. I do not feel convicted for it. And you keep saying the Catholic church says this and that but why not just look at what the Bible says. The Bible is not clear on the issue of birth control so why not decide what is best for you in your own heart and not judge other people based on their opinions.

    Also, I read Genesis 38 and sure I can see how someone could take that and interpret it as why not to use birth control but it's just that, an interpretation by an imperfect human. We all interpret those type of black and white issues differently so long as we are doctrinally sound on the major theological points of Christianity, why aruge about the smaller more personal choices?

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  15. And to anonymous... sex outside of marriage is wrong simply because God says it's wrong. He very clearly tells us that sex is ONLY for marriage. And on that note marriage is also ONLY for one man and one woman.

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  16. Tessy- WHY does God tell us that sex is for marriage? And WHERE does the Bible say that it is only for one man and one woman? There was a whole lot of polygamy going on in the Bible. I'm not arguing that it doesn't, but I suddenly realized I didn't know if that was in there or not! :) Sorry for my ignorance.

    But back to sex within marriage. As a single 30-year-old, I need something more than "because God said so" on the whole keeping sex to marriage thing. I think that there IS an answer, and I think it's a very beautiful answer, but I was just curious as to any thoughts that you have on the matter. Thanks! :)

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  17. Tessy,

    Thanks for the response. Some thoughts:

    You wrote:
    "What about song of solomon? It doesn't look like there is much procreation going on there, just pure pleasure."

    Sex is both unitive and procreative. For Song of Solomon to celebrate the unitive aspect (primarily regarding the relationship of Christ to his Church by the way) does not cancel out the procreative aspect.

    You wrote:
    "The use of birth control will not keep us out of Heaven"
    Actually sin is exactly what keeps people out of heaven. (look up Rev 21.8, Rev 22.15, 1 Cor 6.9, 1 Cor 5.11, 1 Cor 5.9)

    You wrote:
    "This is not a doctrinal belief we are arguing here"
    Since when is what we believe about marriage and sex NOT a doctrinal issue? Doctrine meaning teaching. There is a Christian teaching about sex and marriage. That is doctrine.

    You wrote:
    "This is one of those black and white issues that each and every couple needs to decide for themselves what they think is right."
    I think you mean grey area issue. Anyways, all Christians prior to the 20th century would disagree with you that this is a place for Christian freedom.

    You wrote:
    "And you keep saying the Catholic church says this and that but why not just look at what the Bible says."
    Tessy, this is the 2nd time I will say it, but I have never argued based on the fact that "the Catholic Church says so". I HAVE pointed out that ALL Christian, Catholics, Protestants, even evangelicals, believed for centuries that contraception was a grave evil until just a few decades ago. You have yet to responded to this point.

    continued...

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  18. ...continued from above

    You wrote:
    "The Bible is not clear on the issue of birth control so why not decide what is best for you in your own heart and not judge other people based on their opinions"

    Who says the Bible is unclear? Says you, the person who wants to use contraception. All Christians thought the Bible WAS clear on this issue until people decided they wanted to start using contraception in the mid-20th century. Then all of sudden the Bible became unclear.

    You wrote:
    "Also, I read Genesis 38 and sure I can see how someone could take that and interpret it as why not to use birth control but it's just that, an interpretation by an imperfect human."

    When, if we are getting anything from the Bible, are we not just getting interpretations from imperfect humans? We are ALWAYS interpretting the Bible, and we are all imperfect. So if that is your reason to dismiss this portion of Scripture, then by your logic we should dismiss ALL Scripture. (I, along with all Christians prior to the 16th century, believe that that is why God has left us the Catholic Church. With it's apostolic authority it can, by the power of the Holy Spirit, perfectly interpret the Word of God. Otherwise, we have the problem you have pointed out.)

    I anticipate your response that we should only dismiss unclear passages. My response: First, we should never dismiss ANY part of Scripture. Second, who determines what's unclear or not? This is only a convenient excuse for ignoring teachings that you don't want to follow.

    You wrote:
    "We all interpret those type of black and white issues differently so long as we are doctrinally sound on the major theological points of Christianity, why aruge about the smaller more personal choices?"

    What are "the major theological points of Christianity"? Please tell me. Does the Bible list out what it thinks are the major points and which are "smaller more personal choices?" You are just deciding for yourself, conveniently putting those more "troublesome" teachings into the category of "personal choice" so that you can choose your way out of them.

    Tessy, I say this in love:
    You are inventing your own religion. The particular permutation of beliefs that you have indicated so far in your comments did not exist for the first 19 centuries of Christianity. You aren't following the Church (that Jesus founded in Mt 16), you aren't following Scripture, you are following yourself.

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  19. I think that Tessy can choose to believe what she wants to believe and that you have no right to judge her in any way. Personally I find some of the things you have posted on this blog to be selfish and immature, but those are your choices. Your blog comes off as "holier than thou" and it's clear that you refuse to listen to anyone who opposes your opinion. Just because someone doesn't believe what YOU believe doesn't make them wrong -- it just makes them different.

    Just a thought.

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  20. Anon,

    You seem to think I can be wrong. You are disagreeing with me, not just thinking that I am different. Thus you are contradicting yourself in your very comment.

    Right and wrong exists. They are not merely 'different'.

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  21. I am not contradicting myself -- I never said you were wrong. I said that Tessy can have her own beliefs and it's not up to you to judge her or anyone else that believes differently from you. If the things that you are posting are what you believe, then fine -- but don't attack other people for thinking differently from you, which is what you did to Tessy, in a very condescending way.

    Everyone's idea of "right and wrong" is different. For instance, I believe asking people for money on the internet (as you have done in this blog) is wrong, but you believe it to be right. I believe that having lots of children when you don't have a job or a place to live is wrong, but you believe it to be right. That is your belief system, not mine -- so, we clearly think "differently" than each other. Yes, right and wrong exist, but it's not up to you to decide who is right and who is wrong.

    Once again, so that you don't use my words against me instead of addressing the real issue -- I am not saying YOU ARE WRONG, I am merely saying that our ideas of right and wrong are DIFFERENT.

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  22. Your next posting should be something like
    "Evangelicals and Moral Relativism"

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  23. Having different forms of intimacy with my husband is not a sin. The bible does not spell out that married coupls can't do certain sexual things. Just because that's what a bunch of really coservative protestants and catholics used to think doesn't mean it's biblical or right. You can't just make up stuff the bible doesn't teach, and say it's a sin.

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  24. The dilemma non-Catholic Christians face is that they have no authority and thus are victim to all the winds of doctrines and the pressures from the zeitgeist. On what basis can they oppose homosexual marriage for instance, if the majority wants it allowed? Who is to say your interpretation of the Bible is truer or done in better faith? On whose authority? Evangelicalism and all protestantism's logical conclusion is the most atrocious heresies imaginable. Luckily, the Church is not democratic, but is expected to be so since we live in a democratic age.


    If Christ did not create a Church, he would have created a debating club and been foolish. If he did create a Church, it would be infallible, indefectible, and have authority to define doctrine and dogma for all ages. Logic demands you look for a church such as this, and indeed there is such a church that claims such things, the Catholic church.

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  25. Oral Sex may not be condemned per say, as long as it is used as a method of foreplay, and not an end in itself. Not positive on this, but you will have to check with official teachings. The other forms, masturbation and anal sex are definitely condemned, for one, it is against natural law.

    An annulment, properly done, only states that a marriage was NEVER valid for one reason or another. It is like removing a senator from his position, because he lied about his eligibility to be a senator. The swearing into his office was NEVER valid. Once a marriage is valid, divorce is not permissible, and one is not allowed to remarry. A separation is allowed, and a civil divorce is allowed and advised however, for practical matters such as finances, children, legal terms, etc. But the church does not grant divorce once a valid marriage has occurred, in accordance with the deposit of faith.
    There are abuses in the obtaining of annulments, on both the clergy and the couple's sides, but that is a matter of disobedience, not orthopraxy.
    "You do not judge a religion by those that fail to practice it"

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